Akasaka Azabu

How to see Tokyo
  • Date Published: April 30, 2024

Designing a journey to Tokyo is a thrilling endeavor, and having the right advice and details can help you fully experience all that this lively city has to offer. Tokyo is abundant with varied attractions and experiences, ranging from landmark buildings to unique cultural engagements. No matter if your interests lie in uncovering historic temples, savoring irresistible street food, or spending time shopping in stylish districts, Tokyo caters to all tastes.

When creating your Tokyo itinerary, consider including some of the city’s must-see attractions. From the enchanting Tokyo Disneyland to the ancient Sensoji Temple, there are plenty of iconic spots that showcase the rich history and vibrant culture of Tokyo. Don’t forget to visit Tokyo Tower for breathtaking views of the city skyline and immerse yourself in the world of animation at the Ghibli Museum.

Getting around Tokyo is easy thanks to its efficient train and subway system. The main train terminal, Tokyo Station, connects you to major urban hubs, and train and subway maps are usually available in English for convenience. Consider purchasing a rechargeable prepaid card like Pasmo or Suica for seamless travel within the city.

As you explore Tokyo, it’s important to embrace Japanese etiquette and customs. Respectful behavior, such as observing walking etiquette and being mindful of your trash, goes a long way in this vibrant city. And while tipping is not customary in Tokyo, exceptional service is the norm, thanks to the Japanese concept of omotenashi.

With these Tokyo travel tips in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to experience the best that Tokyo has to offer. So pack your bags, plan your itinerary, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this captivating city. Tokyo is waiting to be explored!

Key Takeaways:

  • Plan your Tokyo itinerary by including must-see attractions such as Tokyo Disneyland and Sensoji Temple.
  • Take advantage of Tokyo’s efficient train and subway system for convenient transportation.
  • Embrace Japanese etiquette and customs, including walking etiquette and proper trash disposal.
  • Don’t worry about tipping in Tokyo; exceptional service is the norm.
  • Immerse yourself in the unique culture of Tokyo and create unforgettable memories.

Japan’s Visa Policy for Tokyo Travel

Planning a trip to Tokyo? Before you embark on your journey, it’s essential to understand Japan’s visa policy. Whether you’re traveling to Tokyo for tourism, meetings, business, or visiting friends and family, you need to be aware of the visa requirements.

Japan has a visa exemption arrangement with over 60 countries, including the United States, Canada, various countries in Europe, and many Asian nations. If you hold a passport from one of these countries, you can enjoy visa exemption when traveling to Tokyo. This means you won’t need a visa to enter Japan and can stay for up to 90 days.

However, if you’re from a country that is not included in the visa exemption arrangement, you will need to obtain a visa from a Japanese diplomatic mission before your trip to Tokyo. It’s vital to check with the nearest Japanese diplomatic mission regarding the specific visa requirements and apply for a visa if necessary.

Knowing the visa policy for traveling to Tokyo will help ensure that you have all the necessary documentation in order when you arrive. This way, you can focus on exploring the vibrant capital city and immersing yourself in the rich Japanese culture without any unnecessary complications.

Population & Statistics of Tokyo

Tokyo, the capital of Japan, boasts a bustling population, making it a vibrant and dynamic city. With approximately 13.5 million people, Tokyo is the most populous prefecture in Japan, accounting for over 10% of the country’s total population.

The Greater Tokyo Area, encompassing Tokyo Metropolis and neighboring prefectures, is home to a staggering 38 million people, making it the world’s most populous metropolitan area. This thriving urban region offers a diverse mix of cultures, cuisines, and experiences.

Foreign residents also find Tokyo a welcoming destination, with just under half a million individuals from around the world calling the city their home. The multicultural fabric of Tokyo reflects the city’s global appeal and provides a rich and inclusive environment for residents and visitors alike.

Despite its significant population and bustling city atmosphere, Tokyo is not devoid of natural beauty. The city is home to numerous parks and green spaces, providing oases of tranquility amid the urban landscape. Some notable parks in Tokyo include:

  1. Ueno Park: Located in central Tokyo, Ueno Park is a vast green space home to numerous museums, a zoo, and picturesque cherry blossom trees.
  2. Meiji Shrine: Situated in Shibuya, Meiji Shrine is surrounded by a lush forest, offering visitors a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
  3. Asukayama Park: Found in Kita Ward, Asukayama Park is one of Tokyo’s oldest parks and features beautiful cherry trees, a miniature steam train, and a charming atmosphere.
  4. Shinjuku Gyoen Park: Situated in Shinjuku, this spacious park showcases a diverse range of garden landscapes, including traditional Japanese, French formal, and English landscape gardens.

These parks in Tokyo offer serene spaces for relaxation, strolling, and enjoying the beauty of nature within the bustling cityscape.

Shopping, Taxes & Saving on Purchases in Tokyo

Shopping is a popular activity in Tokyo, offering visitors a wide variety of shopping districts to explore. Whether you’re looking for unique souvenirs or Japanese lifestyle products, Tokyo has something to offer for every shopper’s taste.

However, it’s essential to understand the consumption tax in Japan, which is a standard 8% tax applied to all consumer goods. As a tourist visiting Tokyo, there is good news – you can often take advantage of tax exemption on your purchases, making shopping more affordable!

To be eligible for tax exemption, visitors are required to show their passport during their purchase. Additionally, they generally need to spend over a specific amount to qualify for the exemption:

  • For consumables, such as food and cosmetics, the minimum expenditure is ¥5,001.
  • For commodities, including clothing and electronics, the minimum expenditure is ¥10,001.

By taking advantage of the tax exemption, tourists can enjoy significant savings on everyday goods and higher-priced items like electronics.

Comparison of Prices with and without Tax Exemption

Item Price (with Tax) Price (Tax-exempt) Savings
Japanese cosmetics ¥8,000 ¥7,300 ¥700
Designer handbag ¥120,000 ¥109,091 ¥10,909
Personal electronics ¥70,000 ¥63,636 ¥6,364

As shown in the table above, taking advantage of the tax exemption can result in significant savings on your purchases, allowing you to make the most of your shopping experience in Tokyo.

“Shopping in Tokyo becomes more affordable with the tax exemption privilege for tourists. Make sure to keep your passport handy and take advantage of the savings!”

To make the most of your tax-free shopping experience, look for shops that display the “tax-free” logo. These shops are equipped to assist you with the necessary paperwork and provide hassle-free shopping. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in your favorite Japanese goods without breaking the bank!

Getting Around Tokyo

When it comes to Tokyo transportation, the city offers an extensive and efficient train and subway system, making it easy for tourists to navigate their way around. The main train terminal in Tokyo is Tokyo Station, which serves as a hub for various train lines.

The JR Yamanote Line is a particularly convenient option for travelers as it connects major urban hubs like Shinjuku and Ueno. This line operates in a loop, making it easy to hop on and off at popular destinations.

While train and subway maps are usually available in English, utilizing Google Maps on your smartphone can be a helpful tool for navigating Tokyo’s rail system. The app provides real-time directions and updates on train schedules, ensuring a smooth travel experience.

To make commuting even more convenient, visitors can purchase rechargeable prepaid cards such as Pasmo and Suica. These cards allow for easy payment at all train and subway stations, eliminating the need for individual ticket purchases each time you travel.

For those planning to travel outside of Tokyo or explore other regions of Japan, obtaining a Japan Rail Pass is highly recommended. This pass grants unlimited use of Japan Railways (JR) trains, including the high-speed Shinkansen, for a specified period of time. However, if you plan to stay within the city, a Japan Rail Pass is not necessary for Tokyo transportation.

Transportation Option Advantages
Train and Subway – Extensive network
– Efficient and reliable
– English maps available
JR Yamanote Line – Convenient loop line
– Connects major urban hubs
Google Maps – Real-time directions
– Updates on train schedules
Pasmo and Suica – Rechargeable prepaid cards
– Easy payment at stations
Japan Rail Pass – Unlimited JR train use
– Recommended for long-distance travel

Tipping Etiquette in Tokyo

Tipping is not a common practice in Tokyo or Japan in general. In fact, it is considered polite not to tip service workers as they are already providing exceptional service as a standard. This cultural norm is known as omotenashi, which emphasizes the concept of hospitality and going above and beyond to meet the needs of customers without expecting additional compensation.

In Tokyo, it is not necessary to tip servers at restaurants, taxi drivers, hotel staff, or any other service providers. The prices for services already include the cost of good customer service, so a tip is not expected or required.

However, there is one exception to this rule. Tour guides, interpreters, and other travel service providers who cater to international tourists are more accustomed to receiving tips. In these cases, if you feel compelled to show your appreciation for their exceptional service, it is customary to place the money in a small envelope and present it with both hands as a sign of respect.

Key Points:

  • Tipping is not expected in Tokyo or Japan in general.
  • Good service is considered the standard, and service workers are not motivated by the possibility of a tip.
  • Omotenashi is the cultural norm of exceptional hospitality without the expectation of additional compensation.
  • It is not necessary to tip servers at restaurants, taxi drivers, hotel staff, or other service providers in Tokyo.
  • However, tour guides, interpreters, and travel service providers who cater to international tourists are accustomed to receiving tips.
  • If you decide to tip, present the money in an envelope with both hands as a sign of respect.

By understanding and respecting the tipping etiquette in Tokyo, you can fully embrace the culture of omotenashi and show appreciation for exceptional service when appropriate.

Unique Aspects of Japanese Culture in Tokyo

Tokyo offers a rich cultural experience that is unique to Japan. Understanding and embracing the customs and etiquette of Japanese culture can enhance your visit to this vibrant city.

One distinctive aspect of Japanese culture is its cash-based society. While many countries are moving toward digital and card-based transactions, Japan still heavily relies on cash for everyday purchases. Therefore, it is recommended to carry cash with you at all times when exploring Tokyo.

Walking etiquette is another important aspect to be mindful of in Tokyo. In Japan, it is customary to walk on the left side of the sidewalk, allowing others to pass on the right. This simple gesture of courtesy helps maintain a smooth flow of pedestrian traffic and avoids unnecessary congestion.

When using escalators in Tokyo, it is common practice to stand on the left side, leaving the right side free for those who wish to walk or move quickly. This allows everyone to use the escalators efficiently and ensures a respectful and orderly environment.

Traditional Japanese bathhouses, known as sentos, are a significant part of Japanese culture and can be found throughout Tokyo. These communal baths offer a chance to relax and rejuvenate while experiencing a time-honored tradition. Remember to follow the bathing etiquette, such as washing thoroughly before entering the bath and refraining from putting your towel in the water.

It is also essential to be mindful of waste management in Tokyo. Public garbage bins are scarce, and it is customary to take your trash with you until you find an appropriate disposal location. Respecting the cleanliness of the city contributes to the overall well-being of the community and demonstrates a commitment to maintaining a clean environment.

Japanese Culture in Tokyo

Aspect Description
Cash-based Society Japan relies heavily on cash for everyday transactions, so it is important to carry cash at all times.
Walking Etiquette Walk on the left side of the sidewalk and stand on the left side of escalators to allow others to pass.
Japanese Bathhouses Visit traditional bathhouses, called sentos, to experience a unique Japanese cultural tradition.
Waste Management Take your trash with you until you find an appropriate disposal location, as public garbage bins are scarce.


As we wrap up on Tokyo sightseeing, it is evident that the city offers a plethora of attractions and experiences for visitors. By following these final tips for Tokyo travel, you can maximize your trip and create an unforgettable itinerary. Whether you’re exploring top tourist attractions or immersing yourself in Japanese culture, Tokyo has something for everyone.

To make the most of your Tokyo travel, it is essential to plan your trip in advance. Research the attractions you want to visit, make reservations where necessary, and consider purchasing a Tokyo transportation card or a Japan Rail Pass to navigate the city conveniently.

While enjoying your time in Tokyo, remember to be respectful of local customs and etiquette. Embrace the unique aspects of Japanese culture, such as proper walking etiquette and the cash-based society. Lastly, don’t forget to immerse yourself in the authentic Japanese experience, from trying out traditional dishes to visiting local markets.

With these final tips, we hope you have a fantastic trip to Tokyo and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Safe travels!


What are some must-see attractions in Tokyo?

Some must-see attractions in Tokyo include Tokyo Disneyland, Sensoji Temple, Tokyo Tower, and Ghibli Museum.

Do I need a visa to enter Japan?

Japan has a travel visa exemption arrangement with over 60 nations. Travelers visiting Tokyo for tourism, conferences, commerce, or to see friends or family do not need a visa if they hold a passport from one of these countries. Visitors from countries not included in the exemption must obtain a visa from a Japanese diplomatic mission.

What is the population of Tokyo?

Tokyo has a population of approximately 13.5 million people, making it the most populous prefecture in Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area, which includes Tokyo Metropolis and neighboring prefectures, has a population of over 38 million people, making it the world’s most populous metropolitan area. Tokyo has just under half a million foreign residents.

Are there parks in Tokyo?

Despite its large population and high density, Tokyo has many parks and green spaces where visitors can relax and enjoy the outdoors. Some popular parks in Tokyo include Ueno Park, Meiji Shrine, Asukayama Park, and Shinjuku Gyoen Park.

How can I save on shopping in Tokyo?

It is important to be aware of the consumption tax in Japan, which is 8% on all consumer goods. However, visitors on a tourist visa can often claim a tax exemption on their purchases, making shopping more affordable. To be eligible for the exemption, visitors need to show their passport and typically need to spend over a certain amount, which is ¥5,001 for consumables and ¥10,001 for commodities.

How can I get around Tokyo?

Tokyo has an extensive and efficient train and subway system, making it easy for tourists to get around the city. The main train terminal is Tokyo Station, and the JR Yamanote Line is a convenient way to travel to major urban hubs. Visitors can also purchase rechargeable prepaid cards like Pasmo and Suica for easy payment. A Japan Rail Pass is recommended for long-distance travel, but it is not necessary for within-city transportation.

Should I tip in Tokyo?

Tipping is not a common practice in Tokyo or Japan in general. Good service is considered the standard. The only exception is tour guides, interpreters, and other travel service providers, who are accustomed to receiving tips from tourists.

What are some unique aspects of Japanese culture in Tokyo?

Tokyo offers unique cultural experiences for visitors. Japan is largely a cash-based society, so it is recommended to carry some cash at all times. Proper walking etiquette, such as walking on the left side and standing on the left side of escalators, is important. Public bathhouses, known as sentos, are popular and offer a traditional Japanese experience. Visitors should also be mindful of their trash, as public garbage bins are uncommon in Tokyo.

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